Artist Diaa Allam is turning Arabic into a thing of ‘infinite beauty’
Diaa Allam describes himself as “an Egyptian artist with an Emirati spirit”. An urban planner and landscape architect by profession, the calligraphy artist is showcasing a selection of his works at The Immortal Language Collection exhibition as part of the Ramadan celebrations at The Galleria on Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island. Allam’s art is a modern twist on calligraphy, in which he employs graphic design elements as well as contemporary art.
How would you describe your artistic style?
Contemporary Arabic calligraphy. I like to merge a modern touch with traditional calligraphy to create an abstract style of art.
How does your professional training impact your art?
Urban planning helps me to get my precision as an artist and it teaches me how to plan my art on a larger scale before I start working on it. A background in architecture has also aided me in opening doors to different perspectives that are inspired by many architectural and cityscape designs.
What was your inspiration behind the pieces on display in The Immortal Language Collection?
I was inspired by the poem The Immortal Language by Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum [Vice President and Ruler of Dubai] and how we can turn the immortality of the Arabic language into a [thing of ] infinite beauty. The inspiration takes in not just my Immortal collection, but the very idea of calligraphy and the Arabic language in general. I wanted to make a statement: art pieces that can be together as a whole, but can also be separate and still have meaning and display stand-alone style and beauty. Through my abstract and calligraphy art, I believe I have achieved this with the exhibition on display, as you can see each piece as one solo work of art.
What do you hope the audience feels when they look at your work?
I’d like for the people to see the beauty of Arabic calligraphy and to find inspiration from it. They can love the art pieces, and interact with their beauty prior to even understanding the very meaning of the words.
Would you say it is particularly relevant to Ramadan?
Yes, I do feel it is related to Ramadan, but to me, Arabic calligraphy isn’t seasonal – it’s special for the whole year round.
What does Ramadan mean to you and how does this exhibition tie in with that?
Ramadan is a time to work on self-improvement in different ways. This exhibition is actually an opportunity to show my work, but at the same time an opportunity to improve myself. Ramadan is also for friends and family, and my art pieces are a great way to bring family together over Ramadan and see Arabic art with a modern twist.
Is your work on show in any other galleries in the UAE, or can we see it online?
We are looking at gallery locations in Dubai Design District and hope to open later this year – something I’m very excited about. Currently, my work can be observed on Facebook and Instagram, and, of course, at The Galleria. I’m also developing my own website.